Calf prices predicted to increase in 2020

According to several sources:

• Bred heifers retained as replacements has declined 2%.
• Heifer slaughter is up 7%.
• Cow slaughter is up 3%.

University of Tennessee livestock economist Andrew Griffith states “I think what finally happened is prices just convinced people not to retain those heifers. There’s not a lot of ranchers making money at the price we’ve seen for calves this fall.”

Other factors:

• Beef imports have declined 6%.
• Feed prices are expected to be lower.

2020 feeder calf price projections:
• +$10/cwt. (Glen Tonsor, KSU).
• +3% to 5% (Nalivka, Sterling Marketing).

Tonsor and Nalivka both caution that current consumer demand is good but a recession and/or a change in demand for pork by the Chinese could change the picture quickly.

BEEF Magazine. “As the cycle turns: Heifer retention rates hit the skids.” Nevil Speer
Drovers 12/1/2019. “Tighter Cattle Supplies Will Boost 2020 Prices.” Greg Henderson